Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Remembering a hodag legend - behind the microphone, in the communitySubmitted: 06/25/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander knew him by voice alone.

But Todd McEldowney, the longtime voice of the Hodags, was much more than that to the community.

He died late last month.

"He was synonymous with Hodag sports. He was the voice of the Hodags," says Todd McEldowney, Todd's son.

The senior McEldowney became almost as much of an institution for Rhinelander athletics as the Hodag itself.

His 33 years behind the radio microphone and as a teacher at Rhinelander High School inspired, as well as entertained.

"People left him feeling better about themselves and better about the world they lived in, because he truly loved what he was doing," his son remembers.

Football to basketball, softball to snowmobile derbies, WOBT radio to a stint here at Channel 12, and the microphone to the classroom, the Rhinelander community knew and loved him.

"All in all, we had an excellent time together," says his longtime partner, Paul Ebert.

Ebert was with him in the booth for decades.

"I probably preferred basketball on the fact that it was indoors and warm," Ebert laughs.

"If I wasn't with him broadcasting, we were probably fishing for walleyes on the weekend," he says.

Many people thought he could go even bigger than the Northwoods.

"I would think he would have been network caliber," says Ebert.

"He decided that teaching was so important to him, and he loved being around the kids so much, that he was going to stay here in Rhinelander, support his Hodags, and teach for Rhinelander High School," says the junior McEldowney.

Stay, support, and teach - and be vital member of the Rhinelander community.

"He always thanked people that were listening. He mentioned specifically the shut-ins and the people that couldn't get to the games," says his son.

McEldowney signed off with his signature line for the last time in 1988.

"Win or lose, it's always a good idea to back your Hodags," he would say.

But that didn't end his love for Rhinelander.

"He was so proud and so loyal to the Hodags, and that's something he took with him until the day he died," his son says.

He died on May 26th, loving every minute of life.

"He always said in his closings that he hoped people enjoyed the broadcast as much as he enjoyed bringing it to them."

You can help remember McEldowney by aiding in building a new press box at Mike Webster Stadium, Rhinelander's football home.

Make donations out to McEldowney Memorial.

Send them to O'Melia, Schiek, and McEldowney, 4 South Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

MARATHON COUNTY - Police need to find the suspects they believe robbed a home at gunpoint in Marathon County on Tuesday.

According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office, police got a report of an armed robbery on Fairview Road in the township of Emmet around 7 a.m. Tuesday. As of early Tuesday afternoon, investigators were still on scene.

+ Read More

Play Video

MANITOWISH WATERS - Days like Tuesday make you want to get outside and maybe go for a bike ride.

It's only a matter of time until bicyclists start hitting the trails, and the bike trails in Manitowish Waters are prepared for it.

The Uihlein family established a $2 million trust fund that will pay for the bike trail's maintenance in the town.

+ Read More

MADISON - Right now you need a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin.

That could be changing.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Northwoods Memorial Day service attracts hundreds of people, rain or shine.  But getting there isn't always easy for some.

This year, service organizers will offer free coach bus rides to the Union Grove Cemetery in Harshaw for its May 27 ceremony.  Rick Smith started the ceremony after going to his father's grave site on Memorial Day in 1997 and seeing no one else out there.

Ceremony treasurer Craig Lau says the service has grown from an informal gathering to a day with cannons, fly-overs, and music.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - Thunder Lake Wildlife Area draws in birders and hunters alike.

The 3,000-acre marsh in eastern Oneida County is a critical breeding ground and migratory stop for birds like sandhill cranes and chestnut-sided warblers.

It's also become an important place to the Nicolet Bird Club of Three Lakes--so important that the club decided to adopt it.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is looking into reports of an armed home invasion in the Town of Pelican. The incident was reported Monday morning around 6:30.

The caller said a white male wearing black clothes entered a home along County Highway P. The man was described as tall and muscular.

+ Read More

MADISON - American Indian leaders in Wisconsin will give their annual State of the Tribes address to the Legislature and constitutional officers on April 4.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a news release Tuesday that Stockbridge-Munsee tribe President Shannon Holsey will give the speech this year.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here